Freedom Square in Tbilisi

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On Freedom Square, almost everyone who has ever been to the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, has strolled. Even from its name, it’s clear that it symbolizes freedom and independence, strength of spirit, and invincibility.

History

There are many historical accounts, all scattered and often contradictory. From general facts, it is known that initially, along Baratashvili and Pushkin Streets, where the city center is now, flowed the Avant-hevi River, which emptied into the Kura. Then it was dried up, and in the Middle Ages, the mighty Caravanserai grew here, which translates to “Inn Square.”

It was then called either “Firewood” (thanks to the timber market selling chopped wood) or “Staff” (because of the building of the Caucasian Corps, the first stone building constructed in this district). Later, it was renamed Erivan Square, in honor of the Russian General Paskevich-Erivan.

Around the same time, Pushkin stayed here, and the shutters of his house overlooked the place where the column now stands. One of the central streets of the city was named after this poet. Now, Pushkin Square is also home to Pushkin Square, where you can sit on a bench and catch your breath after exploring the city.

Until the end of the 19th century, the area was filled with the greenery of imperial and later private gardens. Unfortunately, they were later cut down. Before the revolution, a caravanserai was built here by the merchant Tamashev, in the building of which a grand theater was located. Its entrance was guarded by metal griffins, which are now the only surviving elements of the theater. During the revolution, when Georgia became a “country of councils,” the Bolsheviks demolished the caravanserai but, for some reason, spared the mythical chimeras. You can still see them on the square, on either side of the fountain near the city hall.

Грифоны на площади Свободы

Time passed, and the name changed again, first in honor of Beria and then Lenin. The monument to Lenin stood here during the Soviet era. The square became a venue for anti-Soviet rallies and the “Rose Revolution.”

In modern times, when the column of St. George was being built, and its foundation was laid, fragments of the theater walls were found. The decision was made not to preserve them.

Monument to St. George the Victorious

The column was solemnly opened on November 23, 2006, in the very center of the square, on the significant Georgian religious holiday “Georgoba.” On the 33-meter column rises a 5-meter statue, covered in pure gold, representing St. George piercing a writhing serpent with his spear.

Площадь Свободы в Тбилиси

The monument symbolizes victory and the attainment of independence. The grand monument is attributed to the renowned architect Zurab Tsereteli. The St. George column evoked mixed feelings among locals: some admire its grandeur, symbolism, and brilliance, while others are very dissatisfied, considering that it spoiled the entire panorama and charm of the old square.

Let everyone stick to their opinion, but it cannot be denied that the monument has become a symbol of Tbilisi and a must-visit place in the capital.

Where is Freedom Square and How to Get There

Freedom Square in Tbilisi is situated right at the heart of the city, to the right of the metro station with the same name – “Liberty Square.”

To reach the square, one can take various buses that operate from different districts of the capital to the city center. Another option is to use a taxi, although considering potential traffic jams, it may not always be the fastest method. It is advisable to order a taxi through applications like Yandex or Bolt since if you flag down a driver on the spot and mention that you’re heading to the square, they might take advantage and charge exorbitant fares.

Георгий Победоносец

Nearby Attractions

Former City Duma Building: The current Sakrebulo (city council) building used to be a fire station until 1879. The space was then occupied by the State Duma, and though the building underwent reconstruction, the fire tower was left intact, still towering over the structure, serving as a reminder of its origin. The last reconstruction took place in 1910. Sakrebulo is located opposite the column of St. George the Victorious and is surrounded by griffins, which also have their fate and history.

Здание городской думы на площади Свободы в Тбилиси

Galleria Tbilisi: A highly popular shopping center situated directly within the Liberty Square metro building. It houses stores offering clothing, footwear, accessories, and cosmetics, as well as a children’s play center and a dedicated floor with a food court.

Торговый центр Гелерея

National Museum of Georgia: Home to artifacts preserving the history and development of the ancient Georgian civilization. Treasures, jewelry, pottery, reconstructions, remains of primitive humans, animal sculptures, and rare herbarium collections are on display at the National Museum of Georgia. Open every day except Monday from 10:00 to 18:00.

Rustaveli Avenue: The central avenue of the city with numerous beautiful buildings of historic architecture, including the National Museum, the Opera and Ballet Theater, and the Shota Rustaveli Theater.

Old Town: The historical part of the city that retains the spirit and charm of bygone times. Sulfur baths, the Narikala Fortress, the Peace Bridge, the Sioni Cathedral, Rike Park, and, of course, the colorful Georgian balconies and winding cobblestone streets of the Old Town. It is approximately a 15-minute walk from the central square.

Where to Eat Near Freedom Square

Galaktion Tabidze Street: Leading to the Sololaki district directly from Freedom Square, this small area is concentrated with trendy restaurants and bars. Choose according to your taste, but keep in mind that finding a free table here in the evenings can be challenging.

Рестораны на улице Табидзе

Dukhan Veliaminova: Delicious home-cooked meals, including some of the best khinkali in the city, and khachapuri at affordable prices.

Food Court in Galleria Tbilisi: A wide variety of fast food options (pizza, burgers, Chinese noodles, sushi, desserts) and more.

Family Kitchen: A popular and affordable eatery located directly on the square. Tasty, quick, and budget-friendly.

There are also several good bars near the square if you decide to enjoy a glass of cocktails. I recommend reading an article about the best bars in the capital if you’re inclined towards having a drink.

Hotels Near Freedom Square

If you aim for maximum mobility and proximity to all city attractions, you can choose one of the hotels from this list.

Name Rating on the Booking Rating on the Google Distance to Freedom Square Price Booking link
Old Tbilisi Apartments1 9,7 4,8 250 m average price booking
The House Hotel Old Tbilisi 9,6 4,8 600 m little above average booking
Luxury Duplex Studios – City Center 9,7 100 m little above average booking
3 Heritage Rooms 9,7 4,6 500 m average price booking
Luxury Duplex Apartments – City Center 9,9 100 m  above average booking

 

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